Your Friendly Neighborhood Sports Columnist

As I sat in my senior theology class in high school, an all-male Jesuit school, the conversation turned to college and Father Burshek chimed in, in typical Jesuit tradition, with this pearl of wisdom: “The single most important factor to consider when choosing a college is that, for about 75 percent of you, it will be where you meet your future wife.” This, I suppose, is an easy declaration to make when you have chosen the chastity of priesthood.

So, as the rest of the class quickly filled out applications to Florida State, I responded, “Which one?” – which may partly explain why I am in the minority 25 percent, most likely much to the disappointment of Burshek. Luckily for me, I ignored his advice and chose to come to Williams. I took the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference in the world.

Over four years ago when I applied, I often heard the phrase “Williams is a special place.” That seemed nice, but it was vague and a little touch-feely. Then, as I began my time at Williams, I continued to hear this phrase. I heard it in class, on the basketball floor, in public. And, as one typically does, I would usually agree without thinking twice, maybe offering a verbal agreement in special cases.

Sure Williams is a top-flight academic school. And sure we win the Sears Cup like it’s our birthright. But is that why Williams is special?

Williams is special because of the people that are part of it. Almost everyone I have met who is associated with the school has a passion for the school, something tangible that you can reach out and touch when you talk with them.

Lots of people make Williams “special” for lots of reasons. The people that make Williams the most special for me are the best 16 (18 ½ if you count the coaches. . . just kidding Coach P.) guys with whom I have ever had the pleasure to associate myself. More than teammates and coaches, they have become the best of friends.

In his book, My Losing Season, Pat Conroy talks about his years playing at The Citadel, writing, “I got dizzy from loving that team, and I never told them.” So as to not share such a fate, I would like to thank you guys for making 4 p.m. the highlight of my day for four years. As teammates, we compete and I admire. As friends, we laugh and I smile. And as a person, I wonder from afar in awe. You have provided me with enough memories to last a lifetime. The past four years have been a true joy and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Conroy goes on to lament falling out of touch with his teammates, writing, “It is the winners who have reunions, who stay in touch and whose wives and children know each other and gather together on those numerous occasions when their husbands and fathers try to recapture the uncommon glory they once felt when they were young athletes.” I would be blessed to have such a fate. But you can’t recapture such glory, for it never leaves. It remains, eternally, in a little place where you visit when you desire.

Achieving that kind of glory again is the trick. It may not be in basketball, but in life. It is a peculiar feeling to know that you just experienced what, for me, will remain as some of the five best months of your life.

It truly was a winning season, in every sense of the word. It was the journey of a lifetime with the people of a lifetime. It is something I wouldn’t trade for anything, not even, as Burshek will no doubt lament, my future wife. My first one at least.